Louisiana Section News
One of the long-term goals of the T&DI Louisiana chapter was to start and sustain a scholarship program. We achieved that goal during FY2012.With funding provided by our seminar proceeds, T&DI formed a subcommittee (composed of Dr. Louay Mohammad, Om Dixit, P.E., and Karen Holden, P.E.) whose purpose was to solicit, review, and award scholarships to deserving junior and senior university students that intend to pursue a career in the field of transportation. The announcement was issued to Louisiana universities in September, 2012. Each applicant was required to provide a transcript along with two academic recommendations, and an essay regarding their interest in transportation studies. In December, the T&DI subcommittee selected Ms. Jessica Alexander (LSU) and Mr. Neil Schneider (ULL) as the recipients of the Scholarship Awards. Each awardee received a $500 stipend, which was sent to their respective engineering departments for distribution. Congratulations to the 2012-2013 recipients for their accomplishment!
T&DI executive committee member Karen Holden was awarded the Louisiana Section ASCE President’s Medal. Karen served as the T&DI Louisiana Chapter Chairman during 2011-2012. She received this award in recognition of her many accomplishments as T&DI Chairman and her service to the Civil Engineering Profession. Congratulations on this well-deserved acknowledgment Karen!
In October 2012, the T&DI Louisiana Chapter co-sponsored a seminar with the UNO Transportation institute related to navigation issues along the Mississippi River. Recognizing the link between dredging the River and the need to provide valuable sediment to the starved Louisiana marsh system, T&DI Executive Committee Member, Dennis Lambert, P.E. brought together Nancy Powell, P.E. from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Michael Poff, P.E., Senior Engineer with Coastal Engineering Consultants. The Corps of Engineers has devoted considerable effort to maintaining navigation along the Mississippi River. The coastal wetlands are generally subsiding and the loss of critical marsh land negatively affects both commercial fishing as well as its ability to provide natural buffering against storms. The obvious solution is to divert the dredge spoil and let it nourish the starving marsh.Mr. Poff is the Project Manager for the Scofield Island Project where Mississippi River sand is being mined for the restoration of the island. Ms. Powell discussed why the obvious solution is not the simplest solution, and if done incorrectly could severely damage existing River infrastructure. One of Nancy Powell’s slides depicts the progression and regression of the Mississippi River Delta (Ref. USACE).
November was busy, as the T&DI Executive Committee presented a transportation history seminar at UNO and a pavement design seminar at the LSU TTEC auditorium in Baton Rouge. The UNO seminar included Walter Brooks, Director of the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission, and Justin Augustine, Executive Director of Veolia Transportation.Veolia holds a 10-year “delegated management” contract with the RTA. Under this contract, Veolia is responsible for performing all activities of the transit authority below the Board level. Walter and Justin provided a lively tag-team discussion of the history, development, and future of transit in the New Orleans region Besides the early history of the streetcar, the presentation focused on the status of current rail and related transit development projects, including the Loyola streetcar line, the downriver extensions to Elysian Fields, Press Street, and Poland Avenue. Other proposed rail initiatives include rail connections from the CBD to the New Orleans Airport, and the possibility of Baton Rouge to New Orleans Intercity Rail service.Data and information derived from the region’s most recent Comprehensive Operational Analysis was summarized, covering existing and proposed integration of the bus transit system with the street car system.This seminar was well-attended and provided something of interest to those interested in history, planning, and/or engineering.
The second T&DI seminar delivered in November was the 3rd installment of a 3-part seminar series, co-sponsored with the Louisiana Transportation Research Center (LTRC). The Series has included Asphalt Pavement Design, Concrete Pavement Design, and Soil/Subbase Considerations.This 3rd seminar, entitled: Application of Soil, Aggregate, and Stabilized Materials in Pavement Engineering was coordinated by T&DI Executive Committee Member, Dr. Louay Mohammad.The speakers included senior members of the DOTD/LTRC staff: Dr. Zhongjie Zhang, P.E., Gavin Gautreau, P.E., and Mark Morvant, P.E. Refreshments were graciously co-sponsored by the Concrete and Aggregates Association of Louisiana and the Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association. The purpose of this 3rd seminar was to provide basic knowledge of materials and specifications utilized in the design and construction of embankments and base courses used in flexible and rigid pavement structures. The seminar reviewed field investigation, design methodology, and construction specification criteria for soils, aggregates, and stabilized materials used in pavement engineering. Topics included current design practice, pavement subgrade and base layer alternates, and proposed revisions to the 2006 Edition of the Louisiana Standard Specifications for Roads and Bridges (Blue Book). On-going research and implementation strategies for adoption of the AASHTO Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide and Intelligent Compaction for Roadway Construction were also presented. Because of the considerable interest in this topic, your T&DI Chapter has scheduled a repeat of the series at UNO.
In January, T&DI delivered a repeat of the first installment of the three part Pavement Engineering Seminars titled Asphalt Mixture Design and Analysis. This seminar was cosponsored by LTRC and presented at UNO; the seminar was originally presented at the LSU TTEC auditorium in Baton Rouge in May 2011. This seminar focused on asphalt mixture design and analysis. It drew upon the 2006 Edition of the Louisiana Standard Specifications for Roads and Bridges and focused on criteria for aggregates, asphalt cement binders, and asphalt mixture design, including analysis and characterization of Superpave asphalt mixture designs. Our thanks to Dr. Mohammad and Mr. Abadie for a most informative lecture. The second and third installments of the Pavement Engineering Seminars are planned to be presented at UNO later this year.
In an effort to increase awareness of our Louisiana Chapter, T&DI will maintain a booth at the LTRC conference that will be held in Baton Rouge February 17-20th. We will utilized some of our seminar income to facilitate the booth displays, join in providing door prizes to increase booth traffic, and distribute application forms to interested parties.
T&DI is preparing to participate in the Louisiana Engineering and Science Fair that will be held during March 25-27 at the LSU Union in Baton Rouge. As was done last year, T&DI will provide judges and present awards to the top transportation and development projects.
If you are interested in co-sponsoring a seminar at your branch, the T&DI Louisiana Chapter has prepared a Seminar Coordinator’s Check List to assist you in your preparation. Contact Dan Aucutt, P.E., at email@example.com for a copy of the checklist. Our seminars are two hours in length and are typically presented from 5:30-7:30 pm in either the New Orleans or Baton Rouge area. As indicated, we are open to co-hosting seminars in additional Louisiana cities, with proper planning. In keeping with the intent of the Institute to provide training and networking opportunities for all professionals involved in transportation projects, the Chapter is planning the following future seminars:
- Complete Streets and the Policy and Projects underway in New Orleans
- Toll Road Feasibility for I-10/LA 1 connector in Baton Rouge
- Pavement Engineering (Part 2 of 3) Concrete Mixture Design and Analysis
- Pavement Engineering (Part 3 of 3) Application of Earthwork and Embankment Materials